Do Headaches after a Car Accident Mean That I Have Whiplash?

Mar 15, 2021

Do Headaches after a Car Accident Mean That I Have Whiplash?Car accidents are a stressful and even traumatic experience, so it’s no wonder if you develop a headache and want to rest afterward. However, it’s important to listen to your body and recognize when that headache might not just be due to stress or tension, but a sign of something more serious going on. In the immediate aftermath of a car accident, your body is likely pumping with adrenaline, which can mask many pain symptoms.

Once you have a chance to rest, you might start to notice pain and discomfort, like headaches. Many car accident injuries are called hidden injuries because of how their symptoms tend to show up hours and even days after a car accident. Visit a whiplash chiropractor and car accident specialist to get checked out, no matter how small the accident may have seemed.

Headaches as a Sign of Injury

Headaches are a common symptom with a variety of car accident injuries and are sometimes your first sign that something isn’t quite right. While your chest and torso are restrained by a seat belt during a car accident, your head and neck can get shaken up or jostled around with the force of the accident. If you tend to experience tension headaches or migraines then you might not notice something is different at first, but headaches are often accompanied by other symptoms that may develop over time.

Understanding Whiplash Headaches

Whiplash is actually the most common car accident injury because of how the head and neck are unrestrained and can sustain significant damage. Your first symptom of whiplash might be a headache, though the headache itself may be caused by strained neck muscles that might just be starting to swell after the accident. When your head and neck violently snap forward and backward in the accident, your neck muscles may be strained out of their normal range of motion. This can lead to your neck muscles and tendons swelling and even possible tears in the muscles. Your spine may also sustain damage in a car accident, especially in your neck where the vertebrae are smaller and more susceptible to injury. Pain and swelling in and along your spine can lead to painful whiplash headaches which could get worse when whiplash is left untreated.

Other Symptoms of Whiplash

Other symptoms of whiplash can also exacerbate your headaches after a car accident. The spinal discs that separate the vertebrae in your spine and neck may become dislodged with the force of the accident, causing them to put pressure on nearby nerves. When nerves are compressed it affects their functioning and can cause shooting, stabbing pain and tingling sensations. These uncomfortable neurological side effects can exacerbate your pain symptoms and make certain movements difficult or you may feel weakness. Car accident injuries like whiplash are tricky because their symptoms may slowly present themselves as the adrenaline wears off. That’s why you may not realize something more serious is going on until hours or days after the car accident when you realize this might be something more than a regular headache.

Diagnosing Whiplash

You might think it’s strange to visit a doctor after a car accident when you don’t have any serious symptoms, but it helps to understand that your adrenaline may be masking something more serious going on. That’s why it can’t hurt to see a doctor and rule out more serious injuries and take a proactive approach to address any pain that may develop afterward. A whiplash chiropractor can diagnose a wide range of car accident injuries by listening to your symptoms, performing a physical examination, and even utilizing diagnostic imaging tools like an X-ray or MRI. While there aren’t specific indicators for whiplash, your doctor may want to rule out other possible injuries that may be causing your headaches, like a concussion.

Treating Whiplash

When it comes to treating your whiplash, you want your whiplash chiropractor to help provide relief from the painful headaches as well as addressing the underlying issues. Only by addressing the root cause of your pain will you experience long-term pain relief and healing. Chiropractic for car accident injuries like whiplash offers a conservative, natural approach to your treatment without the use of harmful medications or invasive procedures. Instead, your whiplash chiropractor will use gentle techniques like chiropractic adjustments and therapeutic massage to bring healing and relief to your aggravated spine and muscles so you can begin to heal and recover.

If you’re looking for a whiplash chiropractor in Jonesboro then visit AICA Orthopedics. With locations across the metro Atlanta area, including in Jonesboro, our team of car accident and whiplash chiropractors can address a wide variety of injuries and provide you with lasting relief from your pain so you can get back to feeling normal again.


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